In a new
weekly series we take a monthly sample of the philosophical temperature
in the changing rooms of the Premiership and, my, how they are changing
Lawrence Lllewllyn-Bowen would be ... oh shut the fuck up
with that tired self-congratulatory hacking (Ed Balls). This week
we travel to Hampshire and Merseyside to act as the metaphysical
conduit to Jason Dodd and Kévin Campbells
reflective tête à tête
Oh must you use such tired, 18th century introductions Jason? Were
not in the court of King Louis XIII, now are we? Although I strongly
suspect that our current market value would outweigh that of any
past, present or indeed, future monarch.
I consider myself justly reproached, King Kev, as the
tabloids have never christened you.
Well quite. If I were to be labelled with such an atrocious moniker
I would instantly advocate regicide.
Never let those snivelling hacks dictate the terms upon which you
are known to the tifosi our captors and saviours.
an entirely separate point, Brett Ormerod has raised some interesting
points during prandials (or nosh up as that ghastly
prole Christopher Marsden insists upon calling it) these past weeks.
I would like your opinion on one particular point Kévin,
which directly relates to your own ethnic origins and the experience
of first, second, third and fourth-generation players of Afro-Caribbean,
African and Afro-American descent in the English game.
I will do my best to contribute but I must warn you, I am likely
to revert to my primal state and either kill or rape you [a mutual
chuckle is shared].
Oh Kévin, I certainly hope that my alma mater Mr Strachan
and that detestable stockbroker, who has an unfortunate amount of
control at this saintly club, get around to taking on your wages,
as I believe that you would be a worthy intellectual addition to
the cerebrally challenged stock currently plying their trade at
these impressive new surroundings.
Mr Ormerod appears to have inadvertently hit upon the implicit racism
within all football coverage even the relatively erudite
contributions from Green et al at BBC Radio Five Live. Why is it
that all black players, regardless of their allocated role within
the team, almost always, according to execrable commentators and
reprehensible pundits alike, possess the same attributes, physical
characteristics and (invariably quite literally) strengths?
Hardly succinct Jason, but I digress. The answer to Mr Ormerods
disarmingly naïve query is quite simple: a great deal of footballers
and football supporters are racist and the imperialist/colonialist
about black people (they exist ten-fold in wider society of course,
but it is particularly useful to de-humanise and compartmentalise
in a sporting environment) must be perpetuated to provide bigoted
comfort to disenfranchised white men, most of whom are deterred
from attending the modern game because of ticket prices, the ubiquity
(and ubiquity of superficial acceptance) of black players in the
Premier league or both. This has something to do, I feel, with a
19th century perception of British/English national identity. Xenophobia
and racism come easily to the English/British and the deferential
working class white men who played the game, exclusively, in England
until the 1970s are now in the positions of authoritative and administrative
power in the game.
are, and have always been, the brown shirts enforcing the upper
class ideology of knowing ones place and not having
ideas above your station. Look at Bobby Charltons bristling
reference to his lovely English country garden in a
recent advertising abomination and you get some impression of the
mind set. And, in order to even up the Manchester references, ask
Mike Summerbee about Englishness and you would think that you have
wandered into a BNP lecture authored by el diablo himself,
Welshpools own Nicholas Griffin.
will note, and I suspect Mr Ormerod may have also, that white players
are more readily distinguished by nationality but black players
are rarely attributed with such a distinction. Their nationality
is only an issue when they have the audacity to play for an African
national side and have not been through the colonial assimilation
mill (again very 19th century). If Arsenal had more white French
players the xenophobia would be more extreme than current levels.
I believe and hope that Mr Wenger is very aware of the entrenched
net curtain, self-disciplined, anti-education fascism that continues
to fill its lungs with sofa dust and discontent in the front rooms
and editorial offices of the UK and is calling its bluff quite effectively.
Having said this, I do not consider him to be employing positive
discrimination or any other such liberal tosh in his transfer
policies, it just happens that most affordable players of international
repute happen to be black.
Kévin, it is a triumph. I believe that the great tradition
of pamphleteering should be continued with the publication of this
marvellous polemic, tract, er
stunning invective. Call it
what you will, this would pull the wool of institutional racism
from the eyes of the public and bring down the Murdoch press. Mr
Ormerod would, no doubt, concur, as I myself do, with this marvellous,
breathtaking...oh Im quite lost for words...
a no-win situation. But we can
win it by winning it"
Gary Doherty, Spurs, on the eve of a cup-tie with Burnley,
November 2002 (that they didnt win)
Charlton Athletic v Tottenham Hotspur has just finished a hard-fought
1-1 home victory to the south-east London side. After the showers,
shave and dress, the players meet as usual in the stadium lounge.
Old friends Valiants left back Paul Konchesky, espresso, and Spurs
right-back Stephen Carr, crème de menthe, manage to break
out among the mixed set of groups for their customary bi-season
Konchesky: A hard-fought draw sans pareil de nos jours
Comrade Stephen. What did your foul brethren in the Spurs changing
area think of the "stalemate" soi-disant, which
of course with the chances on view today it was very far from being?
Carr: Regrettably, I could find nothing of reason in their mots
injustes Paul. That ignorant Sheringham merely vocalised something
along the lines of "fackin hell, we should have whipped
em", while Stefan Freund was banging his head against
the wall in his private diabolical injustice, as ever. With the
quite-expected volley of clichés to follow from team, managers
and staff alike, I felt I was on the slick chrome vulgarity of the
ITV-broadcast The Premiership. Where I can only assume it
is their inveterate amateur status as broadcasters which makes them
utter such ribald nonsense. I had to ask one of the Spurs lackeys
to prepare my private salle des bains with alacrity.
Indeed. Players, ex-players and even the media professionals
exhibit such a dire appreciation of the aesthetic beauté
of the game; their analysis and reviews amount to a jumbled-up facsimile
of previous screenings: Clive Tyldsleys hysterical bias of
certain players and certain clubs, where to break the vacuity of
his own flow he mentions games and goals quite unrelated to the
current commentary; Clive Allens constant gist-unravelling
within a few sentences, finally summarising something unrelated
to the original stream; the tired routine of the post-match interview;
the tacky appendage of the latest guitars and rhythm popular music.
I now insist to my coterie that we listen to Poulenc or some such
other of Le Six, and turn down completely such arrant drivel.
A most prudent move, my good man. For my own situation, a domicile
ban on broadcast sport has been fruitful in preserving youll
pardon the lazy juxtaposition there my conception of our
pastime. To think of getting anyone among this lumpen corporate
business to air their opinions on the current verité
of global destabilisation. All I hear is ignorance towards Iraq
vis à vis the grand guignol of the US
black gold raids, jingoism in relation to the Bali Mow youll
do my bidding for that one though and sanctified mendacity
towards the "racism in Europe" question. I consider myself
fortunate if I pass one training session without being called Mick
Sheringham (placing a pint of lager on the table): Wahey!!
Come on Stevey lad, get this down you, its the Sat-day night
razz!! Last one to Sugar Reef has to pay for the bubbly n
Um, ok Edward, Ill join the scrum anon.
(already off somewhere else, feigning a street accent):
Aiight lads, Steves in the inner sanctum with us tonight.
(hearing the lounge system play the latest disco-house) Wicked tune
He truly lacks grace, such a paradox with his usually pensant
approach on the groundsmens carefully manicured green
baize. But if I can steer the debate back to the corporate malaise
affecting our hopelessly mature capitalist I should just
say avaricious world. I remarked upon the recent accounting
scandals, the pandemic of Enronitis if you will, to my fellow Valiants
and was left non-plussed with their replies. John Robinson said
of the accountants that "you cant blame em for
sticking their fingers in the pies", while Dean Deano
Kiely said it didnt bother him as he "cant be fucked
with all that stocks and shares shit". I was almost shamed
into quoting him verbatim. While I admired his laissez-faire
attitude in a world where youre never too far away from your
next junk mail about pensions or credit cards, surely it is the
job of the knowing elite to inform this lumpen plebiscite
calling them proletariat or bourgeois carries no resonance in modern
times. That the conniving and deceit goes all the way to the summit
of Bush administration and Blairite cabinet, and indeed informs
the decision-makers in non-too-subtle ways?
I quite agr
Come on Carson!! You got five minutes to finish your jar and
you aint even started! (immediately distracted again)
Leave it and leave here. My driver is taking me to Maison Novelli
now. I suggest you join us (ends).
...I think you should calm down Jason.
But surely this should be distributed in place of Metro,
it is so important?
Jason, if Darcus Howe said this he would be dismissed as paranoid
and ungrateful (Ive always liked that particular one, where
if, as a black man, you complain about your circumstances in northern
Europe you are being ungrateful. By that imperialist rationale,
we should be giving praise, every day, for the fact that we havent
been lynched or forcibly repatriated). Look Jason, Everton fans
were singing Everton are white up until ten years ago.
This is a moderately conservative country that will never allow
change to occur quickly or the truth to be told directly.
But how do you effect change when its so easy to deter yourself
from even suggesting that the status quo is both inadequate and
false through a media savvy reading of society and social
Look, bugger this, Jason Guevara, Ive got to meet the
lads down the Litten Tree tonight, for a spot of bonding
and the first rounds on me. If Im not there to get it,
as club captain, Ill never hear the last of it.
I must express my disappointment and exceptional anti-climactic
Im afraid Jason, we are the guards of our own prison.
I can find solace solely in absinthe. Adieu Kévin.
Yep. Ill see you next week, after my meeting with Max Clifford.
Im to advise him on how to advise Leeds in their current race
You sir, are a scoundrel of Svidrigaylovian proportions...